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Most futile words you can ever utter over the phone while standing in an airport security line: “Delete those tweets.” Seriously . . . Best line ever delivered before a hang up on a phone conversation taking place in an airport security line: “I’ve been up since 5 a.m., dude. Deal with it.” . . . Both of these were delivered by the same guy . . . I was reported to TSA for suspicious activity in the security line. I wasn’t completely apoplectically pissed off about traveling. THAT is suspicious . . . It’s rare you get a fun person next to you in the TSA line. I had one next to me the other day, and I went over to him after we both got through to shake his hand and thank him for having some fun while we were standing in line . . . By the way, I’m not sure why Omaha, NE has security lines that would rival Midway airport. Can anyone explain that to me?

Omaha-Airport-Fun-Guy

It’s fascinating how you can make seven decisions all intended to save travel dollars, but in total, they wind up costing you more than if you had made a few more expensive decisions along the way . . . Big thanks to my neighbor for going on a road trip with me for the sole purpose of driving my workshop supplies to Nebraska since I’d be flying to Nebraska (and couldn’t take them along) two days later. It made a potentially wasted afternoon so fun . . . Even if everything else is okay, getting to your hotel room at 1:15 a.m. is a clear sign of bad planning . . . And btw, bad planning for your connecting flights used to be a $50 deal. Now it’s like a $500 deal and not worth the trouble of making a change . . . Does anyone else suspect the percent of people in airports with bad tattoos HAS to be higher than in the general population?

At a dinner the other night, we had to go around the table in a crowded restaurant and share our stories. While a quiet, mild-mannered man from California at the other end of the table told his story, I leaned over to the person next to me and said, “I think he said he shot a man in Reno once, just to watch him die.” She said I was deranged . . . The difference between driving from St. Louis to Carbondale, IL at 55 mph vs. 80ish mph is night and day . . . I handed out orange TicTacs claiming they were creativity pills, and they seemed to work to make people more creative. Go figure!

Orange-Tic-Tac

Lesson learned during this recent trip: When you’re doing a media event, look at the cameras. Ignore the people, and look at the cameras. I’ve got that for next time . . . At the start of a Brainzooming workshop the other day, the video person (a woman) and I spent about 90 seconds unbuttoning and buttoning my shirt and playing around with my pockets trying to get two microphones placed on me. In a moment of exasperation, I told the audience, “That’s the first time a women was undressing me that really wasn’t that exciting.”

It’s amazing (let me repeat…AMAZING) when you can get together with a college friend you haven’t seen in decades and have a dinner conversation that is a pure delight. AND you want to continue the conversation later . . . And how crazy is it when you see a teacher you had for one week in grad school completely by chance and recognize him decades later? THAT is a blog post all on its own . . . Self-talk: That wasn’t me. No matter what you might think, that wasn’t me. I promise . . . You hear more bragging and unbelievable stories on a Southwest flight on Thursday night than Monday morning. Do you think THAT many people had THAT good of a week? Yeah, me neither.  – Mike Brown

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ebook-cover-redoBoost Your Creativity with “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation”

Download our FREE “Taking the No Out of InNOvation eBook to help you generate extreme creativity and ideas! For organizational innovation success, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative growth strategies. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

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These creative inspirations are all about the importance of not settling for “no” when you are seeking, pursuing, or developing creative ideas. As with previous creative inspirations, this is much more about the pictures, with very few words!

Who Notices the Lines, Anyway?

R150718-Pic---Inside-Lines

Don’t Wait around for Someone to Stop Your Creative Detour

R150718-Pic---Detour

People Will Tell You “No” for No Good Reason

R150718-Pic---No-Signs

Maybe the Sign Should Say “Pause” Instead of Stop?

R150718-Pic---Stop-Isn't-Fo

 – Mike Brown

Need help guiding your team’s creative thinking for innovative product ideas?

Brainzooming Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking Tools eBookDo you need to take better advantage of your brand’s customer inputs and market insights to generate innovative product ideas? With the right combination of perspectives from outside your organization and productive strategic thinking exercises, you can ideate, prioritize, and develop your best innovative growth ideas. Download this free, concise ebook to:

  • Identify your organization’s innovation profile
  • Learn and rapidly deploy effective strategic thinking exercises to spur innovation
  • Incorporate crowd sourced perspectives into your innovation strategy in smart ways

Download this FREE ebook to turn ideas into actionable innovation strategies to drive your organization’s growth.

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Ten years ago today, I led our internal communications team in a variety of creative thinking exercises to develop ideas for our upcoming two-thousand person employee and customer Transformation conference that January in Las Vegas.

The session had both high and lows, as I recall.

Creative-Group

Creative Thinking Exercises – Ten Valuable Lessons

I recently found ten lessons I wrote down at the Transformation Conference creative session’s conclusion that pertain to group facilitation.

Beyond the Transformation conference ideas the group identified, the session was important since it:

Some group facilitation lessons were very specific to the session (including giving Becky’s real name), so they are generalized here.

In their more general format, they are valuable lessons for anyone trying to facilitate a diverse and unruly group of people through creative thinking exercises!

  1. Take a minute at the start and explain to people why we’d do something where you don’t have to consider logistical or budgetary reality when saying ideas (this environment is what made Becky shut down).
  2. Tell people it’s okay that they haven’t experienced the thing that you’re innovating. It actually makes them strong innovators because they’re looking at it with completely fresh eyes.
  3. At a minimum, identify someone to help when facilitating a session by yourself. They are invaluable for gathering ideas and moving things around in the room when you are facilitating.
  4. Make sure if you have people select good ideas that you don’t fail to get them categorized as “better” ideas. If not, ideas people picked out as “special” might be merged back in with all the other ideas (and you lose the valuable input on stronger ideas).
  5. Trait Transformation is a great group exercise and a wonderful place to start a session. It really works to think through which cells you’ll likely go to ahead of time; it makes the exercise flow better.
  6. Set an expectation on the number of ideas generated for each of the creative thinking exercises. It gets people to generate more ideas and puts more pressure on them to just say ideas and not assess them.
  7. Watch for people who are bogging down groups and move them into other groups.
  8. If you have enough naysayers for a small group, put them all together and don’t let them mess up anyone else’s creative experience.
  9. Make sure opportunities are stated broadly enough to yield ideas. If you are too specific about an opportunity’s description, you wind up limiting ideas.
  10. Get more creative thinking exercises in place to be ready for new types of opportunities you may encounter.

It’s amazing to me to read through this list of ten lessons in group facilitation. While I remember certain aspects of the session, these lessons make it clear how pivotal these few hours were in shaping how we still work with creative thinking exercises ten years later! – Mike Brown

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ebook-cover-redoBoost Your Creativity with “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation”

Download our FREE “Taking the No Out of InNOvation eBook to help you generate extreme creativity and ideas! For organizational innovation success, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative growth strategies. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

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Marianne-Carr-PhotoLast week I was challenged by some of my friends after reading my last two creative thinking posts. The challenge was – Where are the Women?  GOOD POINT! Women are inspiring leaders in so many ways for innovation, creative thinking, and marketing.  Here are Creative Clicks by Women, and in some cases, about Women. Hope you are Inspired! – Marianne Carr

A Note on these Creative Clicks by Gal Friday, Marianne Carr: Click on the Creative Thinking Headlines to Get to the Creative Thinking Original Post. 

Who in the Universe is Vera Rubin?

Vera-Rubin

“Instead of advice, I offer my hopes for you. I hope you will stay alert and heed the words of Yogi Berra: “You can see a lot by just looking.” I hope your lives will be filled with health and peace, that you understand there is much work to be done in the world and that many of you will choose to join with those who work and lead. I hope you will disdain mediocrity and aim to excel in whatever you do. I hope you will love your work as I love doing astronomy. I hope that you will fight injustice and discrimination in all its guises. I hope you will value diversity among your friends, among your colleagues…” Vera Rubin addresses the graduating class of Berkeley, 1996  Bright Galaxies, Dark Matter

If you are not reading  www.brainpickings.org run, don’t walk to your device of choice and sign up for blasts – email or in Facebook or Twitter. Do it noooow.

Oh, and it’s written by a woman  Maria Popova. She is a rock star to me.

Color, Color Everywhere and Lots of Stuff to Think

As a self-described Color Freak, (Lori’s title, not mine) I have been enjoying reading Lori Sawaya, Color Expert and Strategist, Facebook posts www.facebook.com/TheLandofColor for years now.  And of course, her thoughts are a natural fit for Pinterest,  www.pinterest.com/TheLandofColor/ with STUNNING posts that if you like color, and I know you do, you will eat up like candy.  Lori has 82 boards with trends and information. Her boards dedicated to just one color, are, dare I say, provocative. Also you can learn some great history from Lori. Her page Haint Blue the Legend includes Ghosts and Southern Mansions. Hopefully you get the picture why this colorful expert is an inspiration to creativity.

02-Orange

In honor of Mike.

Women and Innovation and 18 Pages of Articles about Women, Girls and Social Innovation

03-Stanford

“The world is waking up to the economic power of women. A growing number of studies have indicated that gender-inclusive companies are more successful, that women’s participation in the labor force has had measurable effects on economic growth—indeed, that women’s leadership benefits the economy and society on every level. Despite this, traditional investment opportunities—both in the for-profit and the social sector—have excluded women from access to capital and done little to further gender equity in the workplace. In recent years, a movement towards “investing with a gender lens” has emerged. This movement encourages the use of capital to deliver financial returns…

Says the intro to the Webinar on The Rise of Gender Capitalism. And isn’t that what Innovation is all about? Making Money. Make some noize Girrrrls! Woot Woot!

Women Blogger on Innovation at Innovation Excellence

I researched  “Women Bloggers on Innovation,” and the Innovation Excellence site has several good woman bloggers.  One notable is Saga Briggs. Saga tends to focus on Learning and Education.

Blogger-Profile

Here are two recent posts from Saga:

 

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Suppose you need to reduce, simplify, or streamline a project. That seems to be an easily enough understood strategic thinking objective requiring basic strategic thinking skills.

Yet, how many times do you see an attempt to simplify a project lead to more complication?

Don’t Rube Goldberg Your Way to Simple

It’s sort of a Rube Goldberg phenomenon. Rube Goldberg was the cartoonist that would concoct elaborate sequences of complex steps all intended to perform some task or achieve a result that could have been simply done in one step…if someone had just done it.

Rube-Goldberg-Cartoon

Having seen this Rube Goldberg phenomenon play out any number of times in big corporations (and, admittedly, having been a part of creating some of them), it typically follows a familiar pattern.

  • Everyone acknowledges the need to cut time, cost, or some other resources required for a project.
  • Instead of also agreeing to a commensurate modification in the project’s objective (or what it is trying to achieve), a group starts coming up with ideas to begin cutting things.
  • One or more participants in the group “agree” to reducing things, but all ideas are filtered against how they can still deliver the original objective.

The result is a new series of steps that seem small and less significant, but that really add complexity, non-standard activities, and multiple hoops to the process. Those translate to more time, costs, and other resources that you were trying to reduce in the first place.

Focusing Strategic Thinking Skills on Simplifying Expectations

If you need to do something more simply, make sure you target your strategic thinking skills to simplify the expectations for your strategic thinking objective BEFORE you start trying to simplify anything else. – Mike Brown

 

 

10 Keys to Engaging Stakeholders to Create Improved Results

FREE Download: “Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact”

Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact Mini-Book

Leaders are looking for powerful ways to engage strong collaborators to shape shared visions. They need strategic thinkers who can develop strategy and turn it into results.

This new Brainzooming mini-book, “Results – Creating Strategic Impact” unveils ten proven lessons for leaders to increase strategic collaboration, engagement, and create improved results.

Download this free, action-focused mini-book to:

  • Learn smart ways to separate strategic opportunities from the daily noise of business
  • Increase focus for your team with productive strategy questions everyone can use
  • Actively engage stakeholders in strategy AND implementation success

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SPOILER ALERT!

I’m going to reveal what we’re doing this afternoon at the Nature Explore / Outdoor Learning Project Leadership Institute at Lied Lodge in Nebraska City, NE.

During our closing Brainzooming workshop, more than 120 attendees will use several Brainzooming exercises to create a book in just 45 minutes.

Yup, 45 minutes, and I cannot wait!

How do 120+ People Create a Book in 45 Minutes?

Nature-Explore-Session

With Creative Thinking Exercises!

Working with Nancy Rosenow, executive director of our long-term client Nature Explore, we’ll teach the attendees at the Leadership Institute the Change Your Character and Extreme Creativity creative thinking exercises. They’ll use the exercises to identify new ways to address challenges they face in developing outdoor, nature-oriented classrooms for children.

Taking advantage of the math (lots of people, high yielding creative thinking exercises, and compressed time) we’ll work with Nature Explore to shape the group’s content to create a book. They’ll make the ultimate eBook available to Leadership Institute participants plus use it as a download and list-building content asset for their new online learning offering.

This content development strategy builds on the large-scale focus group workshop we created for the Leadership Institute last year. It also fits with the strategies for effectively using events to create massive amounts of content that we shared, along with author Pam Didner, at the 2014 Content Marketing World.

As we develop and launch the eBook, we’ll keep you updated. Additionally, plans are to video the session and create a brief case study recap to demonstrate how we can work with your organization to harness the insights, imagination, and enthusiasm of your audiences to create similar great content in a very short time!

If you want to learn more about our techniques sooner than later, email me at info@brainzooming.com or give me a call at 816-509-5320. We’ll start imagining how to do something comparable for your organization!

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ebook-cover-redoBoost Your Creativity with “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation”

Download our FREE “Taking the No Out of InNOvation eBook to help you generate extreme creativity and ideas! For organizational innovation success, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative growth strategies. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

Download Your Free

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Luncheon-Graphic

I’m in Carbondale, Illinois today delivering a talk at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute on “Envisioning the Gigabit City – Collaboration and the Creative Power of Diversity.” It is an honor to return to Southern Illinois University, since I received an MBA from SIU.

At today’s luncheon, there will be an opportunity to meet and talk about community visioning with leaders working to turn Carbondale into a Gigabit City. Two Carbondale leaders, Gary Williams, the Economic Development Coordinator for the City of Carbondale and Steve Mitchell with Connect SI, participated in the Gigabit City Summit that The Brainzooming Group co-developed in January 2015. They had the opportunity to hear, via a Brainzooming workshop at the event, how we help foster community visioning for cities, organizations, and institutions.

In the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute talk, we’ll cover some of the same themes on community visioning with a specific emphasis on what it means in trying to build a creative economy.

You can follow the conversation on Twitter today at #CarbondaleGigabit, plus dive deeper into the content incorporated into the talk via links below:

“Envisioning the Gigabit City – Collaboration and the Creative Power of Diversity”

SIU-Know-No-Bounrds

Appreciating Perspectives

Cultivating Diverse Ideas

Creating Collaboration

Exploiting Structure

Crowd-Friendly Communication

“Measuring” the Return on Creative Ideas

Mike Brown

 

10 Keys to Engaging Stakeholders to Create Improved Results

FREE Download: “Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact”

Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact Mini-Book

Leaders are looking for powerful ways to engage strong collaborators to shape shared visions. They need strategic thinkers who can develop strategy and turn it into results.

This new Brainzooming mini-book, “Results – Creating Strategic Impact” unveils ten proven lessons for leaders to increase strategic collaboration, engagement, and create improved results.

Download this free, action-focused mini-book to:

  • Learn smart ways to separate strategic opportunities from the daily noise of business
  • Increase focus for your team with productive strategy questions everyone can use
  • Actively engage stakeholders in strategy AND implementation success

Download Your FREE   Results!!!  Creating Strategic Impact Mini-book

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the free Brainzooming blog email updates.

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